MET VIDEOThierry Baudet was attacked on Thursday evening upon arrival for a lecture at the university of Ghent, Belgium. The FVD leader was hit on the head with an object, the Ghent police reported. “It looked like some kind of ambush, some kind of ambush that they had set up,” said Baudet.
Despite the presence of many security and police officers, a man managed to walk up to Baudet and hit him on the head with an orange, foldable umbrella. The attacker was quickly tackled to the ground and arrested. The man shouted slogans in Russian against fascism and against Putin.
Baudet calls the attack ‘simply terrible’. Under the circumstances, things are going well for the Forum for Democracy leader, who was able to give his lecture at the university. He does have ‘a huge bump’ on his head, Baudet said on NPO Radio 1. He thinks it is ‘very sad that this is happening’. Baudet says he got distracted, then someone else hit his head with the umbrella from the other side. “It looked like some kind of ambush, some kind of ambush that they had set up.”
Baudet was brought to safety, he was not seriously injured, but according to Freek Jansen of Forum for Democracy, he was scared. “This is very annoying, very frightening. The story goes that the boy has been waiting for Thierry in a cove since this afternoon. We don’t know if this is true, but it is very bizarre anyway. Thierry has a pain in his head, but still wanted to speak. The fear is there. We entered a more or less secured area with a lot of police and everyone had to open their bags, but apparently this was able to happen anyway.”
Politicians reacted angrily and indignantly to the attack. “You stay away from politicians,” grumbles Rutte, who finds it ‘completely unacceptable’. Minister of the Interior Hugo de Jonge also speaks of a ‘gross shame’. “You fight the ideas of politicians that you disagree with. with words and never, never with violence,” Rutte says about the attack on the controversial parliamentarian. “People’s representatives should be able to do their work in safety and freedom,” says outgoing minister De Jonge. “Violence is totally unacceptable.” He wishes Baudet strength.
“Completely unacceptable what happened to Thierry Baudet tonight,” tweets Frans Timmermans (GroenLinks-PvdA). “Violence should never be tolerated. Free speech must be protected and the perpetrator prosecuted.” Timmermans hopes that Baudet is doing well.
D66 faction leader Jan Paternotte also hopes that the perpetrator will be prosecuted. “This attack deserves nothing but absolute condemnation. Anyone who wants to get his way by force is never a democrat.” His party colleague Joost Sneller responds briefly: “You stay away from politicians. Courage.”
CDA leader Henri Bontenbal calls the attack ‘unheard of’. In a democracy, violence against politicians is never acceptable.” BBB leader Caroline van der Plas calls it ‘terrible what is happening to Thierry Baudet here’. Think politicians Stephan van Baarle and Tunahan Kuzu call the attack ‘terrible’ and ‘unacceptable’. Volt leader Laurens Dassen thinks it is ‘an idiotic action’ and wishes Baudet strength.
PVV MP Harm Beertema finds it ‘a total shame’ and ‘incomprehensible’ that the attack could happen. “Why couldn’t the Ghent police prevent this?” Wybren van Haga, leader of BVNL, speaks of ‘a disgusting cowardly attack on Thierry Baudet and therefore on our free democratic society’.
There was already a lot of buzz about the lecture in advance. The university tried in vain to stop this, because safety could not be guaranteed. The judge thought differently, and the university board yielded. Immediately after it became known that Baudet was allowed to give his lecture, a counter-demonstration was requested. About twenty demonstrators from the far left gathered to protest on Thursday evening.
The KVHV (Catholic Flemish High Student Association) is a conservative and Flemish nationalist student association. This year the Presidium invited Baudet for the opening lecture. Previous lectures by that association, including Filip Dewinter of the far-right Vlaams Belang, also got out of hand.
The lecture started at just after 8 p.m. in an auditorium of Ghent University. About 300 listeners were present.
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